How can I improve my credit score?
The better your credit rating is, the easier your car finance journey will be – you’ll be offered lower interest rates and have cheaper repayments to make each month. So, it’s worth aiming for an improved credit rating! For those that are having difficulty getting car finance because of a poor credit score, we’ve got eleven excellent tips to help you out.
- Make sure you are on the electoral roll – Lenders check this to protect themselves against fraud and to check that you are who you say you are. You can find out how to register by visiting Your Vote Matters.
- Cancel any out-of-date credit cards – Many people switch cards regularly but forget to cancel old agreements if they no longer use the card. These lines of credit will still appear on your credit file and can make lenders wary about the size of your debt – some may fear that you will ‘max out’ these cards and then struggle to make repayments.
- Apply truthfully – Make sure that the information you provide on applications is accurate and truthful. Inconsistencies can have a negative effect on your credit score and could be considered fraudulent.
- Don’t over-apply! – Too many applications, especially in a short space of time, can have a negative effect on your future score. This is a bit of a ‘catch–22’ as if you get rejected, or the rate you are offered is poor, you’ll want to keep applying to see if you can get a better deal, but at the same time your chances of being accepted will start reducing. For initial research, we offer a soft search application that doesn’t appear on your credit file.
- Use a credit card to (re)build a history – Lenders want to see that you have a reputation of managing credit sensibly. Those with little credit history, even if none of it is bad, are often rejected because they’re difficult to predict. If you don’t have a (good) credit history, build one. The easy way is with any credit card – just spend a small amount each month on it (e.g. £60), and make sure you repay in full each month (preferably by Direct Debit).
- Top up your credit card – As well as making sure that all your repayments are made on time by Direct Debit, pay manually on top of this each month. That way you guarantee that you’ll never be late with basic payments, and you’ll also have the flexibility to pay for any further financial responsibilities.
- Update your credit report – If you have defaulted on credit or had a County Court Judgement (CCJ) against you, it will be recorded on your credit file. Even once debts are settled, some lenders may restrict who they lend to, especially if the CCJ has been given within the last 12 months. Therefore, it is important that as soon as your debts are settled, you make sure that your lenders inform the credit reference agencies and that your credit report is updated accordingly.
- Apply for a guarantor loan – If you’re getting rejected for a car finance loan based on your individual credit score, see if you can be accepted for a guarantor loan. This kind of finance option allows you to improve your credit score as you go along, as (in theory) you should never miss repayments. You’ll need to have a close friend or family member with a good credit score that trusts you to make repayments but will financially support you where necessary.
- Look carefully at the small print – Make sure that you look at all the information on your credit file to ensure it accurately reflects your current circumstances. Keep a watchful eye for any errors or evidence of charges caused by identity theft or fraud.
- Check if you are linked to another person – Having a spouse, friend or family member’s credit rating linked to yours through a joint account could affect your personal rating if they have a poor score.
- Include additional information – Where necessary, provide further information regarding any previous credit problems. If such problems occurred following identity fraud, redundancy or divorce, and your financial situation has improved since, you can add a note explaining this.